I'm having trouble balancing being the founder of a startup and having a dating life. Can you give me some tips for making dating a priority while also being so immersed in a business that needs me?
-- Lisa T., Brooklyn, NY
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment and underemployment and provides entrepreneurs with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of their business's development and growth.
Accept the Challenge!
I don't care what people say, it's incredibly hard to run your own business and have a relationship. A relationship is something that needs to be fostered, needs effort, needs uniqueness and your business needs all the same things. You need to make time for a relationship and be able to turn off your business brain so you can focus on the other person.
Try Dating Online
Dating is tough, especially as an entrepreneur. Luckily, while you may not have time to meet someone organically, companies like It's Just Lunch and Date & Dash make matchmaking for busy professionals easy. It may seem like a long shot, but I know some speed dating success stories!
Date a Fellow Entrepreneur!
What better way to balance love and business than with someone that understands your situation? Scour the plethora of dating sites out there for business executives or search the web for a niche dating site designed solely for entrepreneurs. Either way, you're bound to feel less guilty when you're trying to balance your life with someone that is struggling with the same concept.
Mix Business with Pleasure
While women in the tech scene is rare, and you often are swarmed by men at startup gatherings, it is possible to pick up someone at the same hotel bar that your networking event is hosted at (other women will be at that bar too). It is also not a bad place to bring a date, who can get a glimpse into the life that you are so passionate about.
Shoot for a Similar Trajectory
When you're already committed to a business, you can't do a lot for someone who needs constant attention: it's a recipe for failure. You don't necessarily need to date another entrepreneur, but it's important to look for someone who is clearly not going to sit around waiting for your phone call. It takes planning to make that sort of relationship work, but it really does pay off.
Be Clear from the Start
If you're starting to date someone, seriously explain to them what it truly means when you say you're running your own business: you'll sometimes have to work long hours, bootstrap, have unexpected meetings, etc. Make sure they know what they're getting into.
They're Dating You and Your Business
One of the biggest asset you'll have as an entrepreneur will be your partner; be sure this person understands the strains, sacrifices and trade-offs that you as an entrepreneur will have to make during your startup journey. Having the right partner is empowering, having the wrong partner can generate immense stress-on top of building a business. Choose wisely!
Stick to a Schedule
You must have dedicated times throughout the day and week where work is just not allowed. Just because you can (and feel like you need to) work 24/7 doesn't mean you should. There will always be more to do, but time out of the office is where the magic happens anyway. Start with one night a week from a certain time on where no technology is allowed. Build a habit, then go for two or three.
Make a Date Night
If you're already in a relationship, pick one night of the week where you go out and do something for a solid four hours with your significant other. No phones, no business, just the two of you. Taking at least one night a week to focus on the other person will go a long ways towards the quality of relationship-as well as the business.
Double the Fun!
To find time for dating when you have so little spare time, it's best to look for someone who enjoys the same activities that you would do even while you're single. When you can run or attend a concert or watch your favorite TV program together, your relationship can develop without huge amounts of additional time investment.
Ask for Help!
I love the quote, "You can have it all, but you can't do it all." If you want to have a dating life, you can't do everything yourself. This might mean hiring more people for your startup or delegating more responsibilities. It might also mean hiring someone to clean your home, grocery shop for you, or even help you find singles in your area. Prioritize and make it happen!
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